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Ben Williams – Coming Of Age (2015) [Official Digital Download 24bit/88.2kHz]

Ben Williams – Coming Of Age (2015)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/88.2kHz | Time – 01:06:56 minutes | 1,2 GB | Genre: Jazz
Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks | ©  Concord Music Group
Recorded: April 17th -18th & September 9th 2014

Acclaimed bassist Ben Williams delivers his sophomore album titled Coming of Age, April 21, 2015, via Concord Jazz. Continuing to implore the common elements of jazz, hip-hop, rock and soul, the young bandleader embarks on a bolder journey in this album with more music by his own hand and a reflection of his new outlook as a seasoned musician. Coming of Agefor the 30-year-old Williams means playing a lively role among his peers and a vital part in the music world at large. Winner of the 2009 Monk Institute Competition, Williams cites this as a turning point in his musical odyssey, “My career as a bandleader and composer started from the moment I won,” he says. “I had this opportunity to say something—and an obligation, too.”
Revered by The Washington Post as “Successfully translating the musical pulse of his era into jazz,” Williams has secured a masterful selection of special guests featured on this project. They include renowned jazz trumpeter Christian Scott on the cover of Lianne La Havas’ melancholy “Lost & Found” that is draped by a string quartet, vibraphonist Stefon Harris on an original piece titled “The Color of My Dreams,” and emcee/poet W. Ellington Felton who leads the listener through “Toy Soldiers (reprise).” Williams also reconnects with American soul singer Goapele for a second collaboration with the pivotal anthem “Voice of Freedom (for Mandela).” Completing the vision is Williams band, Sound Effect, comprised of Marcus Strickland (tenor and soprano saxophone),Matthew Stevens (guitar), Christian Sands (piano and Fender Rhodes), Masayuki “Big Yuki” Hirano (synths and Fender Rhodes), John Davis (drums) and Etienne Charles (percussion).
The CD offers eleven tracks with nine original compositions by Williams and the rare vinyl addition offers eight pieces from the CD’s repertoire, including a free download of all eleven tracks. Showcasing his impeccable talent for acoustic and electric bass, this album creates an experience that demands to be heard by a wide breadth of generations. Tour dates to be announced.

Ben Williams’ sophomore full-length album, 2015’s Coming of Age, finds the adept bassist/composer delivering another sophisticated mix of post-bop, fusion, and contemporary R&B-infused jazz. The album follows up Williams’ equally striking 2011 debut, State of Art, and showcases the winner of the 2009 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition’s further development as a bandleader, composer, and improviser. Once again joining Williams is his longtime backing ensemble Sound Effect, featuring tenor and soprano saxophonist Marcus Strickland, guitarist Matthew Stevens, pianist and Fender Rhodes keyboardist Christian Sands, synth and Fender Rhodes keyboardist Masayuki “Big Yuki” Hirano, and drummer John Davis. The album also showcases several guest artists including singer Goapele, who adds her soulfully resonant voice to the midtempo, Afro-pop-infused “Voice of Freedom (For Mandela).” Also spotlighted here is acclaimed New Orleans-born trumpeter Christian Scott, whose muted trumpet lead on Williams’ reworked cover of vocalist Lianne La Havas’ sultry, introspective ballad “Lost & Found” brings to mind the melancholic sound of Miles Davis. A stylistically wide-ranging musician with roots in gospel, R&B, and pop as well as jazz, Williams has a gift for pulling his many influences together across an album. This is evident throughout Coming of Age, with cuts like the Latin-infused “Forecast” and “Half-Steppin'” bringing to mind bassist Jaco Pastorius and saxophonist Wayne Shorter’s work with the ’70s fusion outfit Weather Report. Similarly, Williams reinvents Nirvana’s classic “Smells Like Teen Spirit” into a robust, virtuosic solo bass performance and even takes to the mike, rapping over a latter-album reprise of his militaristic ballad “Toy Soldiers.” Ultimately, with Coming of Age, Williams continues to reveal his growth as one of the most open-minded and gifted millennial jazz artists –Matt Collar

1 Black Villain Music 04:29
2 Strength And Beauty 05:28
3 Half Steppin’ 07:23
4 Voice Of Freedom (For Mandela) 04:47
5 Toy Soldiers 08:08
6 Lost & Found 06:21
7 Forecast 08:15
8 The Color Of My Dreams 08:07
9 Smells Like Teen Spirit 03:21
10 Toy Soldiers 02:44
11 Coming Of Age 07:53

Ben Williams – acoustic bass, electric bass
Marcus Strickland – tenor and soprano saxophone
Matthew Stevens – guitar
Christian Sands – piano and Fender Rhodes
Masayuki “Big Yuki” Hirano – synths and Fender Rhodes
John Davis – drums
Etienne Charles – percussion
Special Guests:
Goapele – vocals (“Voice of Freedom (for Mandela)”)
Christian Scott – trumpet (“Lost & Found”)
Stefon Harris – vibraphone (“The Color of My Dreams”)
W. Ellington Felton – emcee/vocals (“Toy Soldiers (Reprise)”)
String Quartet (“Lost & Found”)
Maria Im – violin
Dima Dimatrova – violin
Celia Hatton – viola
Justina Sullivan – cello



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